Students may be sitting in a new building for engineering and physics classes in a few years. Construction for a new engineering and physics building could begin in late 2014 or early 2015.
Interim President Tim Miller said the new engineering and physics building is the University’s top capital construction priority.
“It is a big push for us right now,” Miller said. “We need to get all of the sciences together in one building.”
If funding is appropriated in the 2014 legislative session, the design will be complete in the fall of 2014. If it is not appropriated, the project will have to wait another two-year cycle.
Miller met with legislatures in Frankfort last week to let them know the project is the University’s top request.
Construction cost for the building is estimated at $30,581,000 with the total cost estimated at $36,890,000.
Miller said students will not see a tuition increase from the project and funding will come from the state.
Kelsey Van Oss, junior from Dayton, Ohio, said she is excited for the newer technology that will be incorporated in the new building.
“Most of the technology we currently work with is outdated,” Van Oss said. “I would feel more prepared going into the real world and job field if I had experience with some of the newer technology available.”
Catherine Sivills, assistant vice president of communications, said the new building is very important to the University and has been planned since 1998.
“The sciences at Murray State are very strong and we have seen that the new chemistry and biology facilities have greatly enhanced these programs,” Sivills said. “The engineering and physics program is heavily dependent on new technologies and state of the art facilities, so this new facility is critical for the engineering and physics program to continue to grow and excel.”
The new building will include laboratories in fluid mechanics, physics research, astronomy, physical chemistry, biology research and more. It will also have lecture halls that can seat up to 150 students.
The building will also house all of the engineering and physics offices and some biology and chemistry offices as well. The current engineering and physics program is located in the Blackburn Science building.
Stephen Cobb, dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, said the new engineering and physics building is necessary to the department and is the third and final phase of the new science complex.
“The classrooms and furnishings in Blackburn are small and confining,” Cobb said. “They do not allow us the space to conduct engineering design projects that involve building and test of large prototypes.”
Blackburn Science Building was built in 1947. The most recent addition to the building was in 1967.
Cobb said the new building will have up-to-date technology in the classrooms, new equipment in the laboratories and classroom furnishings which will contribute to a productive learning environment.
Sivills said a state-funded study determined that Blackburn was not well suited for a state of the art science facility.
The current plan is to locate the new building west of North 16th Street in the area of Olive Street. It would be southeast of Jesse D. Jones Hall.
Said Sivills: “The benefits to Murray State students, faculty and staff will be far reaching as teaching and learning of the sciences will be greatly enhanced with this state of the art facility.”
Story by Rebecca Walter, Staff writer